Why would you want to digitalise your vinyl records when the same music and a lot more is easily available through Tidal or Spotify today?
One reason may be that you have a unique collection of records which will never find their way into these channels. You may see it as time capsule for your records and the music you have listened to, or you may need a new hobby…
The result can anyway be surprisingly good. When I compare my recordings with CD versions they have a different sound, but can definitely measure up and often be regarded as better.
I haven’t made A/B-tests between the record and the digitalised result though, due to the placement of my audio equipment. Others have tried and found that no difference can be heard between original record and digital copy, when all settings have been set to the highest quality (more details on this later).
When you are done with your record collection, you can always continue and go shopping for used records in second hand stores or on sites such as eBay.
Demands for listening quality
Before doing vinyl conversion on a bigger scale, you should think about your quality preferences. If you – in the middle of the work – find that you are not happy with the results, then you’ll just have to start over again or continue to be dissatisfied. I have started over myself a few times…
If you only would listen to the recordings on a portable player you might have moderate requirements on the quality, but if you want replace the vinyl records when listening at home, then you will probably aim for audiophile quality. Better sound is addictive though, so in the end you will probably want the best quality both on the portable and at home…
I never burn my recordings to CD. The CD format has been on the market for more than 30 years (since 1982) and to me it is not really a modern format anymore. Instead I stream the music from my computer and I use an iPod for portable music.
This also means that I don’t care to chose a recording format that is suitable for CD (see the section about recording and storing formats).
Budget – time and money
The amount of time you want to spend can be revised during the process, but when it comes to the hardware you should do your investments as early as possible. It is likely that you will change your attitude during the work, and probably wish that you would have had better gear from start.
The best strategy is to start doing a few conversions with no or minimal investments, and then decide how to continue with the same setup, stretch your budget and improve with two, three or more steps or to just close down the project.